No hands? No problem.

I promise I’m not going to be grumpy. It’s going to be a genuine observation. With facts and shit.

To begin, let me take you back in time. Not all that far back in time, but further back than yesterday so far enough. In fact, back to the year 1990 or 1991, the years I first played a computer game. It’s the same sort of yesteryear I babbled about in my Sonic post.

I have absolutely no recollection of what the console was or what the game was called as it was owned by my best friend who had a significantly richer family. But there was a lightgun affair and we had to shoot caterpillers or worms. Everything was in black and green and it was a bit on the tame side. Fast forward some years and that same friend had a SNES. We played Super Mario Bros World for days on end and barely spoke to each other about anything other than games for years. In fact, we barely talk about anything else now and we’re in our twenties.

My clearest memories of all these consoles and the many various ones that we had in the years subsequently were the control pads. All very different in design, all with a very specific set of memories attached. To this day I only have to look at the three pronged beauty of the N64 controller to be transported back to my first go of the new age of 3d Mario Kart and the weeks of Lylat Wars. I love control pads. They take the brunt of my anger when a game is hard and they really help me to get engaged with the game.

Now that sounds like a stupid thing to say, but now that we’ve entered an era of controller-less gaming it seems there’s just no need to press a button any more. The Wii kicked us off by showing us how we could replicate tennis in our living rooms and now Kinect (personally I prefered Natal) - oh and there’s that thing on the Playstation that looks like an icecream and I care very little about- has taken that a step further and completely removed the need for controllers. As you are the controller. Which is nice.

I wonder who the longterm market is for this though? Are gamers really going to prefer waving about and talking to themselves as an alternative to sitting down? Obviously these things fly off the shelves because they’re cool and clever and don’t get me wrong, I would love Kinect, but I just can’t really see myself using it as a replacement for controllers. Of course that would only happen if anyone released a game that properly utilised the potential of these products, but whatever.

So….thoughts? Do people disagree? Would you prefer to interact with all games via motion control? Would you like the death of the control pad to come sooner rather than later?